Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aubergine curry

"Aubergine" is a much nicer word than "eggplant"..

This is Aimee's (my omni, but vegan curious flatmate) recipe.

Vegan Aubergine Curry 3 servings (or 2 if you're hungry)
1 medium sized aubergine
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
curry paste (refer to jar to see how much to put in)
1 can chopped tomatoes
a few generous handfuls of fresh spinach

- Prick and rub oil on 1 aubergine. Bake for 45 min-1 hour.
- Chop one onion and a clove of garlic and fry in oil until soft.
- When aubergine is done baking, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
- Add curry paste and aubergine flesh to onions and stir.
- Add a can of tomatos and simmer for 20 min.
- Add spinach and let it wilt a bit. Keep adding and wilting until all the spinach leaves are incorporated.


Serve over rice.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never been a huge cookie person. Chocolate chip and sometimes oatmeal raisin were pretty much the only ones I actually liked and would bother making. But despite my seemingly ambivalent nature towards the food, I have been known to get some killer cravings for them. These cravings aren't the types that bubble under the surface for a while and then slowly become less managable to resist. No, these cravings are the aggressive "NEED COOKIES NOW" ones that come when I'm least expecting them. One of these cravings happened the other night, unfortunately it came during on of my all too frequent cabinet draughts. Not a cup o' flour or sprinkle o' chips in sight. I decided, with my flatmate, Aimee, that we'd make the best god damn chocolate cookies the next day when we had all the ingredients.

We used Isa's recipe from VWAV. I was a bit worried about the dough; it was awfully crumbly and not at all the consistency of most cookie dough. More vigorous mixing helped a little, but we found that it was easiest just to grab the dough and mold it by hand. The cookies turned out phenomenal! If you can resist the urge to eat them straight out of the oven, I promise they taste 100x better if you let them sit and cool to room temperature. Sounds crazy, right? After all, fresh out of the oven cookies are supposed to be the product of angels! Just trust me on this one.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I've got the plague!

Well, not really. But I've been feeling kind of bleh for a few days and this morning a full fledged cold reared it's ugly head into my life. I'm a big ball of sniffles and aches. My medicine? Chai tea latte, fruit, and a solid chunk of the day devoted to watching Northern Exposure DVDs. Looking forward to a long day of veggie broth and surfin' teh internets...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vegan Routes. A big fat womp.

Last week I went to Vegan Routes, a new vegan restaurant in Soho. Like Rootmaster, Vegan Routes is housed in a retired double decker bus with the kitchen on the first floor and seating outside and on the top. The food was alright but really nothing special. My friend and I split a hummus appetizer...which was literally a blob of chunky, gritty hummus with some celery and carrot sticks. Not a pita in sight. We both got the Shepherd's pie which was pretty nice, but would have been much better under a different name--calling it "Shepherd's pie" was trying to make it something it wasn't. It was good, but nothing like Shepherd's pie so omni's (like my friend) ordered it with unrealistic expectations. Lentil pie would have been a more appropriate name.

When ordering our drinks, the waiter misunderstood our orders of "tap water" and thought we wanted the £4 guarana. I'm not sure how this confusion took place since there was no language barrier, but the guarana was definitely not worth the price. Actually, it was pretty gawdawful.

The thing that bothered me most was how the food was served. Everything was served in cardboard. Cardboard cups, cardboard plates...and the main courses were served in take away containers. Take away containers! Not only did it make you feel like you weren't even wanted--like you were being rushed out--but it was also detrimental to the environment while being under and eco-friendly guise. How many of those paper plates do they go through in a day just to have them thrown out after each use?! I asked the server if anything was recycled for further use and she said she didn't know.

All in all a major disappointment. My loyalties definitely lie with the original vegan bus. Nicer service, better food, plus it's right next to one of the best vintage clothing shops in London. Win.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coconut Rice (with some unauthentic-y twists)

As a rule, I hate anything coconut-y. It's rich and creamy, which seem like things that would add up to a food I'd love but, for some reason, it just makes me feel stabby. Coconut rice is the exception. It took me until last fall to even try the stuff but it actually pleasantly surprised me. I hadn't had coconut rice since that first time, but a few days ago I was craaaving some and it just so happened that I had left over coconut milk in the fridge (from making the spicy pumpkin soup from Vegan Comfort Food. Will post pictures soon!). I was too tired to follow a recipe so I decided to hope for the best and jsut wing it. The result was delicious, albeit not the most authetic rendition.

1/2 cup rice
coconut milk*
2 cups water

sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped into small cubes
1 small tomato, chopped into small cubes
1 large button mushroom, sliced
splash of dark soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste
small squeaze of ginger paste (optional)

Cook the rice in the coconut milk/water mixture. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain.

While the rice is cooking, sautee the onions in the sesame oil (use a large frying pan or small sauce pan). Add the rest of the vegetables and heat on low until the rice is done cooking.

Add the rice to the vegetables and mix. Add some turmeric (as much as you like, but I used about 2 tsp.), soy sauce, the rest of the coconut milk, and ginger paste.

Done! So quick and easy. I put a little dollop of chopped cilantro mix my flatmate had in the fridge and it complemented the sweetness of the rice really well.

*use as much as you'd like but know that a little does NOT go a long way in this recipe. I finished all the left over coconut milk in this recipe and still would have preferred a stronger flavor. Also, save a little on the side to add towards the end.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mac & Cheese

Ask any culinary inclinded (self-professed included) vegan and they're guaranteed to have their own signature mac & cheese recipe. It's like a right of passage; the bar mitzvah or sweet 16 of the vegan world if you will. Most of these recipes involve lots of ingredients that can be pricey and hard/annoying to find if you don't live near a health food store. I've tried a few different recipes, but mostly I've played around with the ingredients I've had on hand until I ended up with something resembling mac & cheese. After over a year of experimenting I finally have my own, personal mac & cheese.

As with most of my recipes I'm lucky if I measure things at all, let alone carefully, so the measurements here are just an estimation. I've made this recipe loads of times and have never measured and it always turns out fine!

Mac & Cheese
2 cups pasta

1/3 cup soy milk
1 package silken tofu (aseptic packaged)
2 T soy sauce
2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 T mustard
salt and pepper to taste

While the pasta's boiling, put the rest of the ingredients in a seperate pot. Heat up and use a hand blender to liquidize the mixture. Continue heating until it bubbles. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until it's thick (5-10 minutes).

Drain the pasta and add the tofu mixture.

See? Easy.

This made enough for me to have lefovers for lunch and dinner the next day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ginger Hot Chocolate

Neal's Yard Salad Bar is one of my favorite veg restaurants in London. Don't let the name fool you, vegetarian Brazilian comfort food is their specialty and much of what's on the menu. It's a tiny little place tucked in the middle of Neal's Yard, a quirky little side street brimming with brightly painted shops and quaint cobblestones. There is plenty of seating outside for the warmer months, but in freezing January I opted to sit inside, on the second floor, where the rest of the tables are. I know this is a food blog and I'll get to that in a minute, but first I have to gush over the interior decorating first. It's so cozy! Mismatched antique chairs surround the tables; a perfect mix of bohemian and gothic styles. The vibrantly painted walls add to the bohemian feel and vintage chotchkies and picture frames tie it all together.

Aaaanyways, when you go to Neal's Yard Salad Bar, be sure to get the ginger hot chocolate! I don't really know what else to say about it. I'll let the picture speak for itself.

Foodwise, I'd reccomend the pumpkin polenta pie. It's listed as an appetizer, but it's massive and I usually can't even finish it.